Artswatch Palestine: April – July 2019

Our digest of news from Israel’s cultural war against the Palestinians 

Our findings suggest that sniper bullets manufactured by Sierra were used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against civilian protesters in Gaza in 2018″
Forensic Architecture, May 2019.
photo: Natchez Shooters Supplies

Art and Power

The submission of the research group Forensic Architecture to the 2019 Biennial at the Whitney Museum in New York included an extensive investigation into the use of tear gas and bullets manufactured by companies led by Warren Kanders, a Whitney vice chair.

The companies’ products had been used against migrants at the US-Mexico border wall and in other states including Bahrain, Turkey and Kuwait.

Subsequently, Forensic Architecture discovered new evidence that directly linked the weapons manufacturer to Israel’s violence on the Gaza ‘border’.  The evidence, reported HyperAllergic on 20th July, took the form of an ‘unexploded open-tip bullet in the sand surrounding the Al-Bureji protest camp near the border’The bullet was intact and matched the analysis that Forensic Architecture had conducted on ammunition manufactured by one of Kanders’ companies, Sierra Bullets.

Forensic Architecture, like several other exhibitors, withdrew from the Biennial. ‘Refusal to take a stand is complacency,’ said Nicholas Galanin, another of those who withdrew, ‘especially when you are an American institution with so much influence and voice.’

Kanders, who has donated $10 million to the museum, then resigned from its board, and the exhibitors rejoined the Biennial, keeping their work in the show.

Zachary Small, who broke the story on Hyperallergic, told the Daily Beast that these events were ‘part of a larger conversation in the art world, in which artists are increasingly being asked to be the tip of the spear in larger political conflicts, often at the bidding of wealthy patrons and institutions’.

Palfest re-formed

Between 2008 and 2018, Palfest, the Palestine Festival of Literature, brought together over 200 international and Palestinian writers. Following the Festival the visiting authors would return home to speak and write about what they had experienced in Palestine.

After a year’s break, Palfest returned this Spring – to Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Haifa. It has a new focus on ‘writing that clarifies and frames the connections between the colonization of Palestine and the accelerating systems of control and dispossession around the world’. The festival drew parallels, for instance,  between Palestine and North America.

Ursula Lindsey in Al-Fanar Media, reported on Palfest Phase 2. ‘One of the clear futures we’re facing,’ Palfest organiser Omar Robert Hamilton told her, ‘is one in which an increasingly small elite controls the last two generations of a dwindling planet’s resources, with a massively expanded police force defending it.’

‘Israel, ‘Hamilton went on, ‘is at the forefront of that—of the development of surveillance algorithms, technology, weapons, the expertise of population control and resource control’. Palfest is built around the understanding that the situation in Palestine is part of ‘a clear and present danger facing everyone across the planet’.

Borders and visas

Cultural projects are at the heart of Palestinian resistance. As Rafeef Ziadah commented to al-Jazeera’s Samira Shackle in August, ‘they are a crucial part of movements for freedom, bringing people together in struggle, challenging negative perceptions and stereotypes, and affirming life against the organised brutality of occupation’.

Israeli governments have sought to cut off the supply lines on which cultural production depends. Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, reports that Israel is refusing to issue work permits for international academics working at Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank and is ‘escalating a harsh visa policy that is forcing them to abandon their students and leave the country’. Among the institutions affected is the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, which is linked to Birzeit University. In 2018-2019, eight international faculty out of 19 were denied visa extensions or entry.

The Palestinian Youth Orchestra, founded in 2004, faces similar difficulties. Ziadah argues that the PYO, which recruits young musicians from inside and outside Palestine, is in its very nature a threat to Israeli policy. It does not have to be explicitly a political project in order to incur the hostility of Israel: its very existence ‘challenges in fundamental ways this system of oppression that segregates Palestinians from one another and from the rest of the world’.

Musicians based in the Gaza Strip  have repeatedly had travel permits denied by the Israeli authorities, even when their visas to travel overseas have been granted. Palestinian musicians living in Lebanon or Syria are often unable to get permission to travel to the West Bank to perform. The PYO’s rehearsals sometimes have to take place via Skype.

In the UK, the Home Office has added its own bricks to the wall: in 2015, it refused a visa to the Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma. Last year, it was the turn of the artist Malak Mattar. In June it denied entry to the film-makers Yousef Nateel and Hussein Owda.

Reinventing Jerusalem

In Silwan, east Jerusalem, large-scale demolition of Palestinian homes has been accompanied by an archaeological project which seeks to replace the complexities of history with a single story.

Fox News reported on 4th July that ‘Israel has officially opened a reconstructed stairway, known as “Pilgrim’s Road” that Jesus is believed to have walked on in ancient Jerusalem as another place with the significance of ‘biblical proportions to billions, especially for Judeo-Christian visitors to the Holy Land.’ The Jerusalem Post writes that archaeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when making a pilgrimage to the Temple.

Writing in +972 Chemi Shiff and Yonathan Mizrachi give a different perspective. They point out that in most sites that have been inhabited by countless cultures over the centuries, the archaeological record usually reveals a story of complex relations between the various cultures that resided in any specific area. They criticise a narrative which gives primacy to one ‘ethno-national group’s exclusive claims’ and deplore an archaeological method which rejects digging down through different strata in favour of excavating a single pathway, a horizontal tunnel.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement condemning all attempts by Israel to ‘reinvent the identity of the Old City of Jerusalem.’ Israeli commentators, meanwhile, see the opening of the road as a pivotal event in establishing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

A spectacle of demolition

In April, the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute and the Negotiations Affairs Department of the State of Palestine published a report on health, education, welfare and culture in East Jerusalem. It concluded that Palestinian residents were involved in a daily struggle trying to preserve their identity, their cultural heritage and their right to stay in their city. With partial exceptions in the field of music, cultural institutions were in decline, deprived of funds and severely damaged by restrictions on movement. More than this, a living intangible cultural heritage – of oral traditions, performing arts, local knowledge, and traditional skills – was under threat. Palestinian people were being forced out of Jerusalem, in what for some was a second exile.

On 22ndJuly, these developments accelerated rapidly. 700 police and 200 soldiers moved into the neighbourhood of Wadi Hummus to demolish 70 Palestinian homes, which were deemed to be built too close to the Separation Wall. ‘A demolition of this scale and visibility,’ writes Jeff Halper in The Nation, ‘cannot be understood without grasping its political message; in fact, the scale and visibility are the message’.

The Israelis’ message, Halper goes on, is crystal clear: ‘we do not recognize Palestinians as a side with legitimate national rights and claims, and we will no longer negotiate with them. The entire land of Israel is ours, and we are taking possession of it. You Arabs have three options: Submit and accept the fact that you are living as either second-class citizens or noncitizens in a Jewish state, leave, or if you choose to resist, die.’

A spectacle of punishment

Dareen Tatour’s ordeal is not yet over, reports Oren Ziv on +972. Convicted in 2018 of incitement to violence over a poem she published on Facebook, cleared on appeal in May this year, she now finds herself involved in legal action once again, as a result of the prosecution’s submission that her conviction should be reinstated. In September Israel’s Supreme Court will rule on the admissibility of this submission. Tatour, meanwhile, has launched a petition against the prosecution’s new move, stating:

‘We are together. We will not be silenced. We protect art, poetry and freedom of expression.I know that I am not alone in this battle. I will not give up as I know it is a collective struggle to protect our basic rights. Despite the hardship of facing a new trial, I will continue my struggle for freedom of expression and especially artistic expression. This trial is not my personal trial. It is the trial of every artist, poet, writer and human being.’

Lopez performs in Israel, and Egypt

Ignoring Palestinian calls not to perform in Israel, the singer Jennifer Lopez turned up in Tel Aviv on 1st August, to perform at Hayarkon Park, a venue built on the site of a Palestinian village ethnically cleansed by the Israeli army in 1948.  Lopez tweeted , ‘The mother land Israel!!! First time here. I’m in love!!’

Lopez went on to give a concert in Egypt. The performance at the Seaside Beach Club, reported The Times of Israel, ‘drew some 2,000 people, including Egyptian celebrities and government ministers.’ Tickets were priced at up to four times the average monthly wage.

At the event were the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, the Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali, and the Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform, Hala Al-Saeed. Nasr posted a photo to Instagram of herself and the other ministers.

 

 

 

Open letter to UK artists booked for Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019

 

Dear UK artists booked for Pop-Kultur Berlin festival 2019,

Artists for Palestine UK has joined the call from Palestinians, and also from Israeli artists and Israeli human rights defenders, and from LGBTQI+ campaigners in Berlin, for participating artists to withdraw from Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019, in protest at the festival’s continued partnership with the Israeli embassy.

As you may know, the far-right Israeli government cynically exploits the arts to improve its image abroad and to distract from state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against millions of Palestinians on the basis of their identity. For this reason, Palestinians asked Pop-Kultur Berlin to end its partnership with the Israeli state.

Art matters. The arts should not be used to whitewash a regime whose apartheid character has become explicit and undeniable.

We hope that UK-based artists who are scheduled to appear at Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019 will chose to stand with Palestinian artists and their audiences – be they living under military occupation in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza, be they living as second class citizens within Israel’s borders in historic Palestine, or in exile in the refugee camps and in the diaspora. 

Last year, Israel targeted and completely destroyed the al-Mishal Cultural Centre in Gaza. The UN has found that photo-journalists in Gaza have been deliberately targeted and shot by Israeli army snipers since 2018. Palestinian photographers and journalists in the occupied West Bank and Jersualem are routinely harassed, assaulted and arrested while trying to do their job.  Palestinian on-line space is heavily policed and many face arrest simply for reporting on their own experience.  For example, a Palestinian poet was recently released from almost three years in jail and under house arrest for the ‘crime’ of posting one of her poems on Facebook. 

The Israeli state has buried and erased Palestinian cultural heritage since its founding, and today the government is systematically removing historic documents from its own archives in order to conceal proof of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Two weeks ago the Israeli state blew up 13 Palestinian apartment blocks in occupied East Jerusalem, demonstrating the impunity with which Israel continues ethnic cleansing policies in plain sight, confident that our government/s will not press for sanctions in order to defend the Palestinian population.

As with South African apartheid, when all avenues for seeking justice have been exhausted, boycott is a non-violent weapon of the weak against the powerful. Our strength lies in our collectivity. We urge you to join the fourteen artists from six countries, including eight from the UK, who withdrew from the last two editions of the festival following appeals. Please support the Palestinian call, and to refuse Pop-Kultur Berlin’s normalization of Israeli apartheid.

Yours sincerely,

Artists for Palestine UK

Photo credit: Palestinian band ‘Al-Anqaa’ play in the ruins of the Al-Mishal cultural centre, Gaza, shortly after the Israeli military destroyed it in  August 2018 (©MEE/Mohammed Asad)

Israeli artists: Boycott Pop-Kultur Berlin festival

We are proud to publish the following open letter from Israeli artists in support of the Palestinian call to boycott Pop-Kultur Berlin festival.

[Deutscher Text folgt dem Englischen]

‘As Israeli artists, musicians, and filmmakers, we support the Palestinian call to boycott Pop-Kultur Berlin festival 2019, given its complicity with Israel’s racist regime. 

So long as Pop Kultur continues to have the Israeli embassy as a partner, all appearances at the festival will be exploited by the Israeli government as part of its efforts to whitewash its occupation and rebrand itself through culture.

We recognise that there is an urgent moral need to end the Israeli government’s decades-long oppression of millions of Palestinians, and that boycotts rooted in international law and universal principles of human rights are a legitimate, nonviolent, time-honoured tactic. 

We are dismayed that the festival director last year wrongly condemned BDS as “antisemitic” in defending their partnership with the Israeli embassy. Even Avi Primor, himself a former Israeli ambassador to Germany, agrees that “the leitmotiv of the BDS movement is justice for the Palestinians”. 

We agree with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who called on the German government not to endorse the recent anti-Palestinian Bundestag resolution that falsely equated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights with bigotry, adding that they “are shocked that demands for equality and compliance with international law are considered antisemitic”.

We also agree with Ishay Rosen Zvi, a Talmud professor at Tel Aviv University, who decried the attempts in Germany and elsewhere “to erase differences between criticism of Zionism, criticism of Israel, criticism of the policies of the government of Israel and antisemitism”.’

Signed,

Aviad Albert, musician

Dror Dayan, filmmaker and film scholar

Ohal Grietzer, musician

Avi Hershkovitz, film director

Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, performance artist

Jonathan Ofir, violinist and conductor

Michal Peleg, author 

Ben Ronen, visual artist

Michal Sapir, writer and musician

Yonatan Shapira, musician

Professor Eyal Sivan, filmmaker

Oriana Weich, artist

Eyal Weizman, artist and architect

Karen Zack, photographer



Israelische Künstler*innen unterstützen den Boykott des Pop-Kultur Berlin Festival 2019

‘Als israelische Künstler*innen, Musiker*innen und Filmemacher*innen unterstützen wir den Aufruf der Palästinenser*innen, das Festival Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019 zu boykottieren angesichts seiner Komplizenschaft mit dem rassistischen Regime Israels.

Solange Pop-Kultur weiterhin die israelische Botschaft als Partner hat, werden alle Auftritte bei dem Festival von der israelischen Regierung instrumentalisiert, um die Besatzung zu übertünchen und sich durch Kultur neu zu profilieren.

Wir halten es für moralisch unabdingbar, dass die jahrzehntelange Unterdrückung von Millionen von Palästinenser*innen durch die israelische Regierung beendet werden muss, und dass Boykotte, die im Völkerrecht und in den universellen Prinzipien der Menschenrechte verankert sind, eine legitime, gewaltfreie und bewährte Taktik sind.

Wir sind bestürzt darüber, dass der Festivaldirektor im vergangenen Jahr den BDS zu Unrecht als “antisemitisch” verurteilt hat, um seine Partnerschaft mit der israelischen Botschaft zu verteidigen. Selbst Avi Primor, ehemaliger israelischer Botschafter in Deutschland, stimmt zu: “Das Leitmotiv der BDS-Bewegung ist Gerechtigkeit für die Palästinenser“.

Wir stimmen mit 240 jüdischen und israelischen Wissenschaftler*innen überein, die die Bundesregierung aufforderten, den jüngsten anti-palästinensischen Beschluss des Bundestages, in dem die BDS-Bewegung für die Rechte der Palästinenser*innen fälschlicherweise mit Rassismus gleichgesetzt wurde, nicht zu unterstützen. Sie fügten hinzu, dass sie “entsetzt darüber sind, dass Forderungen nach Gleichberechtigung und der Einhaltung des Völkerrechts als antisemitisch angesehen werden “.

Wir stimmen auch mit Ishay Rosen Zvi, einem Talmud-Professor an der Universität Tel Aviv, überein, der anprangerte, dass sowohl in Deutschland als auch anderswo versucht wird, “die Unterschiede zwischen Kritik am Zionismus, Kritik an Israel, Kritik an der Politik der Regierung Israels und Antisemitismus zu beseitigen”.’

Unterzeichnet von

Aviad Albert, Musiker

Dror Dayan, Filmemacher und Filmwissenschaftler

Ohal Grietzer, Musikerin

Avi Hershkovitz, Filmregisseur

Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Performance-Künstlerin

Jonathan Ofir, Violinist und Dirigent

Michal Peleg, Autorin

Ben Ronen, Bildender Künstler

Michal Sapir, Schriftstellerin und Musikerin

Yonatan Shapira, Musiker

Professor Eyal Sivan, Filmemacher

Oriana Weich, Kulturschaffende

Eyal Weizman, Künstler und Architekt

Karen Zack, Photographin

Boots Riley, Naomi Klein among 100+ figures demanding free speech on BDS movement for Palestinian rights

Over one hundred high-profile artists and public figures are expressing dismay at political repression against  the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, slamming “attempts in Germany to impose political conditions” on artists such as Talib Kweli (pictured).  In an open letter published in the Guardian (and copied below), a broad range of artists from all fields and genres signed but also figures  from the field of human rights including: Index on Censorship, Patrisse Cullors co-founder of Black Lives Matter, human rights lawyer and former judge Sir Stephen Sedley, and philosopher Judith Butler.

“We are shocked that Open Source Festival, Düsseldorf has disinvited black American rapper Talib Kweli, leading to the cancellation of his Germany tour, after he refused to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists who support Palestinian rights, particularly targeting black, POC and queer artists, comprise a shameful trend of censorship, anti-Palestinian repression, and attacks on freedom of conscience.

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Mike Leigh, Leila Sansour, Pratibha Parmar, Ken Loach and others say UK cinemas should boycott Israeli film festival Seret

In our letter published in the Guardian yesterday and copied below, 20 British filmmakers and writers including Mike Leigh, Leila Sansour, Ken Loach and Prahitbha Parmar criticise the hosting of an Israeli government sponsored film festival in the UK. 

The letter cites the findings of the recent UN report on Israel’s violence against Palestinians in Gaza.  It compares celebrity and business protests against Brunei over its new anti-LGBT law, with those against Israel over its violence against the Palestinians.

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Brian Eno: Israel must not be allowed to use Eurovision as a propaganda tool

Brian Eno’s op-ed is published in today’s Guardian, and copied below.

“Those of us who make art and culture for a living thrive on free and open communication. So what should we do when we see culture becoming part of a political agenda? “Music unites,” says UK Eurovision entrant Michael Rice. What happens when a powerful state uses art as propaganda, to distract from its immoral and illegal behaviour? Everybody involved in the Eurovision song contest this year should understand that this is what is happening.

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Judy Joo: Please stand with Palestinians

* In Gaza 97% of water is currently contaminated by sewage and/or salt due to the ongoing blockade of 1.7 million Palestinians living there (Oxfam)

Judy Joo is a chef, writer and restaurateur. We love the creativity of her work at London’s  Jinjuu — but we hate apartheid, so we’re hoping Joo will turn down the Israeli government-sponsored ‘Tel Aviv Round Tables’ food festival.  More than 70 chefs and food writers in the US are choosing to speak out against Israel’s violation of Palestinian land rights, water rights and basic human rights. Please join them Judy Joo!

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DJs, producers, electronic musicians join boycott of Israel en masse

Today a stream of DJs, producers, record labels, electronic musicians are speaking up for Palestine and endorsing the cultural boycott of Israel. Using the hashtag #DJsForPalestine, these artists and cultural producers say they are supporting the Palestinian call for boycott as a peaceful protest against the occupation, “for as long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people”.

This collective action follows the pattern of a similar wave of bands, including  Portishead and Wolf Alice, who came out in protest using the hashtag #ArtistsForPalestine, shortly after Israel’s massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza this May.

Caribou, the Discwoman collective, Laurel Halo, The Black Madonna, Ben UFO, Tessela, Truants, Ciel, DEADBOY, FourTet, Room4Resistance and many, many more joined together for this action.   Some artists added personal messages, for example Ben Thomson / UFO explained:

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Artists call for boycott of Israel-hosted Eurovision 2019 – UK signatories

Artists, musicians and writers from 18 different  countries have published an open letter in the Guardian which condemns the purported hosting of Eurovision 2019 in Israel, saying that the contest should be moved to a non-divisive location, and – citing the recent killing of large numbers of Palestinian civilians – to a country with a better human rights record.
  • Personal statements by international artists can be found here.
  • In addition to the selection of international names in the Guardian, see the full list of British signatories attached to the letter here:

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Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Viggo Mortensen among 70+ artists demanding free speech on Palestine

Artists for Palestine UK is publishing (below) a longer version of the open letter published in tomorrow’s print edition of the Guardian, with the full list of signatories.

The statement responds to news that the award-winning band Young Fathers were invited, disinvited and re-invited to the Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany, following demands that they renounce their support for the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestinian rights. The band refused, and re-affirmed their support for human rights principles. Now, 79 artists, writers and producers from all fields of the arts in the UK, the US, Germany and beyond, plus public figures including Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, speak out about what they say is an “alarming form of censorship, “blacklisting” and repression”.

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Young Fathers affirm support for Palestinian rights despite cancellation by German arts festival

Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany have asked Mercury Prize-winning Young Fathers to declare themselves non-supporters of the Palestinian-led BDS movement for human rights, as a condition of appearing at the festival later this summer. In a statement on June 12, the festival announced the cancellation of the UK group’s concert, saying:

Regrettably, the Young Fathers have not distanced themselves from BDS. (…) The Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign. We have therefore decided to cancel the concert.

Today, Young Fathers have asked Artists for Palestine UK to publish the following statement :

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Artists join the boycott of Israel en masse

Following Israel’s massacre in Gaza in which snipers targeted thousands of unarmed Palestinian protestors,  also attacking medics, journalists, photographers and children – a coordinated wave of  bands have publicly endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian rights, and for freedom, justice and equality.
Here are sample tweets from Wolf Alice, Portishead, Reverend and the Makers, Slaves, Peace, Circa Waves, Nadine Shah and more – starting with the response from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who initiated the call.
Follow the hashtag #artistsforpalestine
British artists and bands can add their name to the now more than 1,300 who signed the Artists Pledge for Palestine on this site.

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Award-winning director withdraws film from Seret London Israel Film & TV Festival

The writer-director of the acclaimed feature film ‘In Between’, one of the films programmed by the Seret London Israel Film & TV Festival,  is one of 36 filmmakers and others to have signed a letter published in the Guardian today saying that UK cinemas should “uphold basic ethical standards” and refuse to provide a platform to  “a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations”. Maysaloun Hamoud has also withdrawn her film.

According to its website, the festival, which is supported by the Israeli Embassy and the World Zionist Organisation, intends to reflect Israel as a “melting pot of cultures, religions and backgrounds”. But Hamoud, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, said in a statement to Artists for Palestine UK:

“I do not want my film, or my name, to be used to portray an image of Israel as a “melting pot of cultures and religions”.

The arts, the filmmakers’ letter says, are “being employed to give an apparently acceptable face to a brutal reality”. They add that “Israel deliberately and routinely denies media freedom to Palestinians” citing  the targeting of Palestinian journalists and photographers by Israeli forces.

Shopping announce withdrawal from Pop-Kultur Berlin in solidarity with Palestinians

We are proud to publish to a statement from UK band Shopping, who today announce their withdrawal from Pop-Kultur Berlin festival in protest at its decision to accept support from the Israeli embassy in Germany. Last year, eight artists withdrew in protest for this same reason.

Their statement:
‘We will no longer be performing at Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin this August. After we were recently announced for the festival, we were contacted privately by Palestinian artists and human rights activists about the festival’s cooperation with the state of Israel, and how this serves to normalise and whitewash Israel’s military occupation and decades of oppression against the Palestinian people. We cannot in good conscience be part of that.


As a band, Shopping are and will always be completely opposed to any form of oppression and discrimination, including homophobia, transphobia, colonialism and racism. We stand firmly against antisemitism and Islamophobia. For these reasons, and in harmony with the principles of the nonviolent, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, we affirm our solidarity with the Palestinian call for BDS.’

The Palestinian appeal to international artists, information, and artists’ statements 2017-18 can be found on a new website, Boycott Pop Kultur Festival.
#popkulturfestival #popkultur2018 #popkulturberlin #popkulturberlin2018
Photo: Jenna Fox

Film-makers call on cinemas to reject Israel-sponsored festival

Maxine Peake, Liam Cunningham, Juliet Stevenson and Helena Kennedy QC are among 36 filmmakers and others who have signed a letter  protesting the hosting of  the Seret London Israeli Film and TV Festival in UK cinemas, due to the involvement of the Israeli Embassy.  The letter, published in Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, says that cinemas are providing a platform for “a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations”.  Full letter and signatories below.
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Jamiroquai, will you stand with the Palestinians?

Dear Jamiroquai,

We write to ask you to cancel your concert in Israel. We do so knowing that band members are not indifferent to the situation in Palestine. In a 2008 interview, Jay Kay said, ‘Ask me something else; Ask me about the situation in Palestine’.

If we asked you about the situation in Palestine today, you’d probably know  that it has greatly deteriorated since 2008, with three prolonged bombing campaigns by Israel on Gaza. The besieged Strip is, according to the United Nations, ‘unlivable’, and there’s an ever expanding colonisation of land in the Palestinian West Bank. Continue reading

Morcheeba: Please don’t give comfort to the oppressor

Artists for Palestine UK is dismayed that despite the unlawful and calculated* massacre of 21  people (to date) during the march by refugees trapped inside Gaza – it appears that the duo that make up British trip-hop outfit Morcheeba, are set to entertain audiences in Tel Aviv next month. As we make our letter to Morcheeba public, we still hope that Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey will connect with Palestinian artists or organisations, or indeed with ourselves, before proceeding with business-as-usual under this deeply racist and brutal Apartheid regime.
*According to NGOs Human Rights Watch and B’tselem

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Artists to Lorde: individual messages of support

On 5 January 2018, more than a hundred international artists signed a letter to the Guardian in the UK in support of New Zealand singer Lorde’s decision to cancel her gig in Tel Aviv later this year.
Since then, some of those signatories have given APUK permission to publish the personal letters they’ve also written to Lorde.   We’re happy to share, amongst others, Brian Eno’s and Roger Waters’ moving expressions of solidarity and support, while Peter Gabriel’s message affirms the need for artists to stand up for human rights.  We’re also reproducing below some of the many messages artists have posted in support of Lorde on social media or via this site.

 

Brian Eno, musician

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Leading artists stand with Lorde

More than 100 artists including leading lights in film, theatre, literature, and music  have come together to sign a statement of support for the singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde. While signatories to the letter, which is published on the Guardian’s letter page, may hold a range of positions on BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), they are united in their defence of the right to freedom of conscience. We are happy to publish the letter and the FULL list of signatories, below.
[Photo: Perou for the Guardian]

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Artists’ statements on Trump and occupied Jerusalem

Today’s edition of The Guardian (December 12) carries a letter signed by one hundred artists, including prominent writers, filmmakers, and musicians, in response to Trump’s ‘recognition’ of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.   The signatories, who include actors Mark Ruffalo and Tilda Swinton and musician Peter Gabriel, said:

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump seeks to achieve through a declaration what Israel has been trying to do for fifty years through force of arms: to erase Palestinians, as a political and cultural presence, from the life of their own city […]

We reject Trump’s collusion with such racist manipulation, and his disregard for international law. We deplore his readiness to crown the Israeli military conquest of East Jerusalem and his indifference to Palestinian rights.

As artists and as citizens, we challenge the ignorance and inhumanity of these policies, and celebrate the resilience of Palestinians living under occupation.

The full list of signatories is published here.

Separately, some of the artists have issued their own individual statements, one of them in verse. We are proud to publish responses by poet Michael Rosen, musicians Peter Gabriel and Robert Wyatt, playwright Caryl Churchill, writers Selma Dabbagh, Hari Kunzru and Ahmed Masoud, producer Kate Parker, filmmaker Ken Loach, and more below.

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